Got a spare Saturday afternoon to kill? Why not spend it on a local, high tech treasure hunt?
Geocaching is what it's called. It is a new sport in which avid techies uncover hidden prize caches with the help of Global Positional Satellite Technology, or GPS. This amazing, recently declassified technology can pinpoint your location coordinates on the earth to within a few feet. The military, boaters and hikers already use it, now you can as well.
Once you purchase a portable GPS unit, available from either Garmin or Magellan for between $100 and $300, you're ready to play. Simply go to www.geocaching.com and enter your zipcode. This searches a database of known cache sites in your area. In my case, over 350 cache locations resulted. Next, program the coordinates into your GPS unit as a waypoint, and you're ready to go. Drive to your location, as a navigator monitors progress approaching the site. Very soon you will be uncovering your prize.
Prizes are stocked by local geocaching volunteers and are usually between $1 and $10 in value. The prize is not really the point, it is locating the prize which matters. Once you do, sign the guestbook, replace the prize you take with one you bring and carefully hide the cache back where you found it for the next adventurer.
A few tips: wear comfortable hiking gear, as caches are often located quite a distance from parking areas and may be hidden under heavy brush.
GPS Unit Manufacturers:
by DL Corbett for Tech Trends